National Cross Country Championships 2017 TVH MenIt was a trip to Wollaton Park in Nottingham for the English National Cross Country Championships, which saw Chris Smith and Tracy Barlow both run well as first home for the TVH men and ladies in the final race of the season in 33rd and 27th place respectively.

Phil Wetton

Unfortunately injuries and other circumstances meant that both teams weren’t at full strength, but those racing on the day performed well with an 11 strong men’s team finishing 24th team out of 131 finishing teams, while the TVH ladies were frustratingly just one short of a complete team.

Unsurprisingly the bigest race of the winter season attracted the biggest field, and this year’s race saw an increase in both the senior men’s and ladies field on last year’s championships, with 1763 finishers in the men’s race and 788 finishing in the ladies race.

Despite some light rain and wind throughout the day making conditions a little damp and cold, the temperature managed to creep into double figures to maintain fairly good weather conditions for racing.

The course consisted of a number of laps over undulating grassland around Wollaton Park, with the majority of the lap on firm grassland there were also a couple of deep water hazards to splash through at the start of the lap, followed by a hill climb on the longer laps and finishing up and down a long stretch of very muddy ground at the end of the lap.

The senior ladies 8k race was a straightforward 2 long laps around the park which included the 2 hill climbs, while the senior men’s 12k race was made unnecessarily complicated by a series of 4 laps consisting of a small, medium, large and extra large laps.

Senior Women’s Race Report

There was a large and strong field of 788 athletes and 93 teams in the senior ladies race for the National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham on Saturday.

4 strong and dedicated senior ladies made the trip to Wollaton Park to represent TVH in the final race of the season.

The race was over a 2 lap 8km undulating course around the park, which included both mud and hill climbs on each lap.

Deep in her London Marathon training, Tracy Barlow put in a great team effort over the mud and was the first TVH lady to finish near the front of the field in an excellent 27th place.

Completing a sensational first cross country season on the senior team Stephanie Ainley crossed the line next to finish in a very good 111th place.

Ladies team manager Siana Jones had a strong race to finish in 239th place out of a field of nearly 800 athletes.

Unfortunately, TVH’s fourth runner Heather Timmins, a former champion around Wollaton Park, was not well enough to finish the race. Heather was determined to make the start line despite not been able to train in weeks leading up to the race and she got off to a promising start leading the field around the first lap but her sickness bug came back during the race so she had to sensibly dropped out.

Senior Men’s Race Report

It was 3 years ago when the National Cross Country was last at Wollaton Park in 2014 and this year’s race proved to be a much happier experience for the Valley men.

Chris Smith once again showed his cross country pedigree as he put himself up towards the front of the field and after trading places back and forth over the course of the 4 laps he was the first Valley man home in 33rd place in a time of 41m 36s, another top notch performance from Chris especially as he could feel his calf tightening-up throughout the race.

Still unable to race in top gear and missing vital race fitness Mo Aadan had also had to fight off the effects of a cold the week before the race, yet despite this he still managed to navigate the 4 laps in a time of 42m 08s to finish in a good position of 56th place.

James Ellis came into the race in good form having finished inside the top 50 in 47th place in the South of England Cross Country championships a month earlier, and although a good time of 44m 25s brought him home in 165th place he was disappointed not to have made the top 100, something which he will surely achieve in next year’s race going on his form from this season.

Racing in his first National Cross Country championships Simon Prigent wasn’t put off his stride by the large number of athletes, as he moved through the field at a good pace to finish inside the top 200 in 192nd place in a good time of 44m 48s.

Daniel Garcia-Rasines was also making his National Cross Country debut and looked to be full of running over the 4 laps as he made a strong finish to the race in 359th place in a time of 47m 12s, and looks set to improve further in the future.

Playing an important role as 6th man and final scorer for the team was Steve Norris, no stranger to racing in a National Cross Country field of over 1000 athletes he was able to pace himself well to finish in 710th place in a time of 51m 34s, to bring the team home in 24th place out of a total of 131 finishing teams.

Manuel Da Silva ran a determined race to stay ahead of team mate Greg Bennett and by the end of the 4 laps found himself just 5 seconds ahead in a time of 53m 56s and a finishing positon of 908th.

In chasing Manuel to the finish Greg put in a great performance to record his best ever finish in the National Cross Country in 923rd place in a time of 54m 01s, a result which is just reward for all his hard work over the winter season.

James Malcolm has continued to support the team well throughout the winter and had a good end to the season finishing in 1117th place in a time of 56m 57s.

Having raced in a number of National Cross Country races over the years Richard Bell can be considered a National veteran, and this experience served him well as he came home to finish in 1204th place in a time of 58m 20s.

Another regular this season David Ford completed a good cross country season as final Valley man home on the day in 1448th place and a time just outside the hour of 1h 02m 27s.

Despite missing some key athletes at Nottingham the Valley men’s team performed well and has been strengthened by some new members this winter, which alongside the existing members and those yet to return promises good things for the future.

With the cross country season now at an end it’s time to look ahead to the South of England Road Relay at Gravesend on Saturday March 25th, and the English National Road Relay at Birmingham on Saturday April 8th, both of which are championship races where we can do well with a good turnout and a strong team.

Up The Valley!

Wollaton Park, Nottingham, Saturday February 25th, 2017

English National Cross Country Championships Results:

Senior Men’s Race Results – 12k

Race PositionTime
33     Chris Smith41:36
56     Mohamud Aadan42:08
165   James Ellis44:25
192   Simon Prigent44:48
359   Daniel Garcia-Rasines47:12
710   Steve Norris51:34
908   Manuel Da Silva53:56
923   Greg Bennett54:01
1117 James Malcolm56:57
1204 Richard Bell58:20
1448 David Ford1:02:27

1763 Finishing Athletes

 Senior Men’s Team Results – 6 to score

Team PositionRace Points
1    Tonbridge289
2    Morpeth Harriers293
3    Bedford304
24  TVH1515

131 Finishing Teams

 Senior Women’s Race Results – 8k

Race PositionTime
27    Tracy Barlow31:09
111  Stephanie Ainley33:56
239  Siana Jones37:12

788 Finishing Athletes